Dozens of police officers descended on a Rye home around 2 p.m. Wednesday in response to an alleged home robbery and shooting, only to learn the information they received was part of a hoax.
It began with a frantic text to a hearing-impaired emergency phone line in Rye Brook.
A person alerted authorities through a text message that a home in Rye had been broken into by three men, one of whom was armed with a shotgun, and that an individual had been shot. The message continued, saying the victims had barricaded themselves in a room using furniture and were hiding under a bed.
A second emergency text soon followed. "It's getting worse," it read.
Police were swift to respond, sending about 30 authorities from Harrison, Rye, Rye Brook, Port Chester and Westchester County police departments to the alleged crime scene at 105 North Street.
Authorities closed the roadway from Hammond Road to Theodore-Fremd Ave. and set up a perimiter around the home; a helicopter circled overhead.
Police then made contact with a woman and three teenage boys inside, quickly learning that none of the occupants were harmed, or even aware of the situation.
The four occupants were escorted from the home before police made a tactical entry. Once the home was cleared police searched surrounding homes and yards with police dogs and AR-15 rifles, but found nothing.
Police said there is no reason to believe the four residents inside the home were involved in the hoax. William Connors, Rye's police commissioner said his department will begin looking at phone records to try to find where the calls originated and that if found, the culprit will face criminal charges.
"A number of dangers arise from situations like this," he added, referring to the number of officers that were called out for a false alarm. With surrounding departments rushing in to help, Connors said the call creates a dangerous situation for responding officers.
"It's a terrible waste of resources," he said. "But under the circumstances, when you receive a call like this you have no choice."